Marine parks are welcomed as a concept by the UK government’s review of national parks, chaired by Julian Glover.
In a 168-page review of the effectiveness of existing national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, the panel gives a small but significant mention of marine. Its report says:
“Limited by time and scope, this review does not assess the many things which should be done to better protect our maritime areas.
“But protection offshore, and onshore, could be better coordinated and public access put at its heart.
“We heard the case for a Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, an initiative being developed in part by Plymouth City Council, and we strongly support it in principle.
“We also welcome steps to complete the 2,795 mile England Coast Path. We would like to see a new National Landscapes Service welcome all such activity into the family.”
The review also came up with these general recommendations:
- A National Landscapes Service should be set up as an umbrella for National Parks & AONBs.
- AONBs should be called National Landscapes.
- There should be stronger cohesion between national parks and AONBs and other (non-designated) landscapes to be developed as a ‘system’.
- The legal purposes of NPs and AONBs should be reformed with more consistency between them.
- Governance and financing for protected landscapes should be reformed with increased funding to AONBs and statutory consultee status.
- “Bloated” national park boards should be reduced to 9-12 people supported by a partnership group of wider stakeholders.
Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “We are most grateful to Julian Glover and his panel that they have been so positive about the idea of marine parks, and in particular a national marine park in Plymouth Sound, in a review which clearly had a lot of work to do rectifying and broadening the ambition of national parks on land. The emphasis the panel places on involving people with conservation is very much the vision we have for marine parks too.”